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Sep 12, 2022

8 Celebrities Whose Faith Choices Impacted -- or Ended -- Their Careers

There’s no doubt Hollywood is a dog-eat-dog environment, and success often comes at great cost, especially to someone's soul.

But there are some who have chosen to follow their religious and personal beliefs, even though it has affected, or even ended, their careers.

Kirk Cameron

While he still does some acting and narrating, Kirk Cameron has partnered with evangelist Ray Comfort to form the ministry The Way of the Master

He hosts a television show of the same name that won the National Religious Broadcasters' Best Program Award.

An Evangelical Christian, Cameron occasionally shows up on other shows, however his life is now mostly dedicated to religion. His long acting career, including his six-year stint as Mike Seaver in Growing Pains, now takes a back seat.

Cameron does appear in a new, pro-adoption film from Christian filmmakers the Kendrick Brothers, called Lifemark, currently in theaters as a Fathom Event until Sept. 15.

UPDATE 9/16: It's now remaining in theaters until the 22nd.

The film is based on the true story of Catholic teen David Scotton, previously the subject of a short documentary called I Lived on Parker Avenue.

His birth mother, who had considered abortion, contacts him, and it's a reunion his adoptive parents (Cameron, Rebecca Rogers) support.

Read the National Catholic Register review here.

 

 

Mayim Bialik

“I think in general it’s never going to be trendy to be observant or religious in Hollywood circles,” Mayim Bialik, a religious Jew, said in an interview for the Los Angeles Times (August 24, 2015)

Bialik, who showed her prowess in the 1988 film Beaches, went on to star in the hit sitcom Blossom (1990-1995). She continued acting while getting her PhD in neuroscience. Yes, she is an actual brain doctor.

Another feather in her cap was the role of neurobiologist Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. It was there where viewers first realized her religious beliefs were important in every aspect of her life.

Amy’s wardrobe was very conservative -- which is how Bialik dresses -- covering her elbows, avoiding plunging necklines, and skirts and dresses at least reaching the knees.

The actor now hosts Jeopardy!, where her clothing has also come into contention. But, Bialik would never take a role in which she would have to dress provocatively.

As she told Fox News' Faith & Fame column in 2017 "Being a modest dresser, that for me is a certain amount of my religious faith -- privacy and chastity. Just because I have a body, doesn’t mean it needs to be on display."

She also sticks to her beliefs in other ways.

“In terms of observance, my social media shuts down for [the Sabbath],” she stated to the Los Angeles Times.

 

Pat Boone

In 1957, singer Pat Boone’s second film, April Love, costarring Shirley Jones, proved to be the confluence of his conscience and career. His strict Christian beliefs came into play during the filming of this movie.

He told Fox News Then and Now in May 2018 about the movie, “Our characters fall in love, but there was no kissing in the script. So I never talked to my wife about what happens if I’m asked to do some kissing in these movies I’m starting to make.”

Apparently he never really paid too much attention to what goes on in the movies.

“We get to this scene at the end of a musical number in a Ferris wheel at the county fair,” Boone recalled. “We’re reaching the end of this song in which the characters are beginning to express their affections for each other…

"And then the director said, ‘As the song ends, lean in tenderly and softly kiss Shirley Jones.’”

He objected and later talked to his wife of four years who, according to Boone, said, “Look, if you’re going to do movies, I guess you’re going to be kissing.  But promise me one thing. You won’t enjoy it.”

He promised her he wouldn’t; however, the film was completed with an “almost” kiss. He went on to kiss the girls in subsequent films.

Marie Osmond

Marie Osmond, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, famously turned down the role of Sandy in the movie Grease, which instead was a career-changer for Olivia Newton-John.

"I was at a place in my life where I wanted to have children, and I didn’t like the fact that the girl had to turn bad to get the guy. I think the guy has to work hard to get the girl, that’s what I believe,” she told Fox News in 2016.

Osmond was not happy with Sandy turning from a nice, sweet girl to a smoking floozy just to get her man.

For this strong-minded singer/actor, it just wasn’t what she wanted to portray and a message she didn’t want her kids to learn.

Chris Tucker

Comedian Chris Tucker reportedly turned down several million dollars to star with Ice Cube in the sequel to their 1995 film Friday (which is rated R).

According to Ice Cube’s Twitter post, "We were ready to pay Chris Tucker $10-12m to do Next Friday (another R rated film) but he turned us down for religious reasons.”

Tucker thought the language and drugs went against his Christian faith.

In 2014, Tucker told The Georgia Straight newspaper that he now refrains from insensitive profanity in his career due to his strong Christian faith. He moved back to Georgia to get away from the Hollywood negativity and embrace the Lord.

“I never was a raunchy, raunchy comic, but I didn’t think about what I was saying because I was young,” he says. “Being a Christian helps me in comedy. I have to talk about other stuff (than sex and drugs).”

He admitted this provides him with challenges, something he enjoys.

Neal McDonough

Neal McDonough puts his family first. A devout Catholic, husband and father of five, the actor said on the Inside of You: Michael Rosenbaum YouTube show in 2021, “I have a great relationship with God.”

Before anything, his wife and five children are the driving force in his life. His faith and his family have been the benchmark in the roles he has accepted.

 

 

“I won’t do kissing scenes” he stated. And he won’t do sensual scenes. That said, he has taken on the challenge of being the antagonist, explaining, “I had to become the best bad guy.”

Bad guys don’t get the girl and usually do not have any love scenes. Although McDonough's convictions have cost him roles, he makes sure his roles are void of kissing and romance.

McDonough can be seen this Christmas season on PBS as host of the annual Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir special, taped last December in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jim Caviezel

Another devout Catholic -- and star of director Mel Gibson's New Testament blockbuster The Passion of the Christ -- Jim Caviezel says God leads his life.

“God believed in me, that He wanted me to be an actor. I felt it in my heart very deeply,” he told The National Review (September 15, 2020).

For him, his faith is more important than money. That is his guiding light. He stated, “…you have to hold onto your convictions regardless of what and how much money they offer… .”

 Caviezel also credits Family Theater Productions' founder, Venerable Patrick Peyton, with helping him reconnect with his faith and turn his life around -- as he talked about at the 2007 Rosary Bowl in Pasadena, California.

 

 Dolores Hart

 The star of the 1960 film Where the Boys Are and the 1963 film Come Fly With Me, along with many others, Dolores Hart is one woman who can say she kissed Elvis.

In 1957, she managed that feat in the film Loving You, and again costarred with Presley in the 1958 film King Creole.

But her successful acting career ended early when she decided to take another path.

 Hart became a Benedictine nun at the young age of 24. That’s quite a leap from kissing “The King.” Her king is God.

A 2011 HBO documentary, God is the Bigger Elvis (available on HBOMax and other services, including Amazon Prime Video) looks at Hart and her life choices. This is the ultimate example of an actress who put her faith above her career.

 

Image: Fathom Events

Francine Brokaw is a longtime journalist, covering entertainment, product reviews and travel, and is the host of Beyond the Red Carpet on Village Television and YouTube.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and YouTube.

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